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Table 1 The required number of indirect comparison trials required to produce the same precision as a given number of direct (head-to-head) trials

From: Sample size and power considerations in network meta-analysis

Trial count ratio Exact precision ratio Number of indirect comparison trials required to match precision from the corresponding number of single trials in a pair wise meta-analysis
   1 2 3 4 5 10
1:1 4 4 (2:2) 8 (4:4) 12 (6:6) 16 (8:8) 20 (10:10) 40 (20:20)
1:2 4.5 6 (2:4) 9 (3:6) 15 (5:10) 18 (6:12) 24 (8:16) 45 (15:30)
1:3 5.33 8 (2:6) 12 (3:9) 16 (4:12 ) 24 (6:18) 28 (7:21) 56 (14:42)
1:4 6.25 10 (2:8) 15 (3:12) 20 (4:16) 25 (5:20) 35 (7:28) 65 (13:52)
1:5 7.2 12 (2:10) 18 (3:15) 24 (4:20) 30 (5:25) 36 (6:30) 72 (12:60)
1:6 8.17 14 (2:12) 21 (3:18) 28 (4:24) 35 (5:30) 42 (6:36) 84 (12:72)
1:7 9.14 16 (2:14) 24 (3:21) 32 (4:28) 40 (5:35) 48 (6:42) 96 (12:84)
1:8 10.13 18 (2:16) 27 (3:24) 36 (4:32) 45 (5:40) 54 (6:48) 108 (12:96)
1:9 11.11 20 (2:18) 30 (3:27) 40 (4:36) 50 (5:45) 60 (6:54) 120 (12:108)
1:10 12.1 22 (2:20) 33 (3:30) 44 (4:40) 55 (5:50) 66 (6:60) 121 (11:110)